Photo Credit: Bobby Bank/WireImage; Mike Marsland/WireImage
When we think of words to describe Jennifer Aniston, we think: Smart, beautiful, talented. But "destructive to our society?" Not so much. That's exactly what Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly said about Aniston and recent remarks she made while promoting her new comedy, The Switch, in which she plays a single mom who chooses the artificial insemination route to parenthood.
Earlier this week at an L.A. press conference, Aniston, 41, reportedly said, "Women are realizing it more and more, knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have that child....Times have changed....What is amazing is that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents' days when you can't have children because you have waited too long."
The Emmy-winning actress added, "The point of the movie is: What is it that defines family? It isn't necessarily the traditional mother, father, two children and a dog named Spot....Love is love, and family is what is around you, and who is in your immediate sphere."
On his self-titled show, O'Reilly used a "Culture Warriors" segment to seize on the movie star's "don't have to settle with a man" soundbite, and scolded Aniston, "Throwing a message out to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds that, 'Hey you don't need a guy. You don't need a dad.' That is destructive to our society." (Hmm, we must have missed the part where Aniston addressed society's tweens. We could have sworn she said "women.")
O'Reilly added, "Fathers who do try hard are underappreciated and diminished by people like Jennifer Aniston."
The talk-show host wasn't the only one lambasting the actress. Fox News' Gretchen Carlson weighed in, telling O'Reilly's viewers Aniston is "glamorizing single parenthood." Fox contributer Margaret Hoover argued that women today certainly "can have their own kids, and not have a husband, or not have a partner....but why would you want to?"
Anyone else hear echoes of Dan Quayle in O'Reilly's critique? In 1992, then-U.S.-vice president Quayle gave a famous speech on "family values," describing the popular sitcom Murphy Brown (starring Candice Bergen as a successful news anchor who became a single mom by choice) as "mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another lifestyle choice." The speech incited a media frenzy, in no small part because a major player on the political landscape was so concerned about a fictional story line in pop culture.
Aniston has not yet responded to O'Reilly (who invited her onto his show to defend her statements), but during a press junket for The Switch, she seemed to relish any controversy inspired by her film. According to USA Today, a journalist called Aniston's character Kassie's decision "selfish," but the star insisted, "I love the debate. It's awesome."
Do you think Jennifer Aniston's comments about single motherhood are "destructive to our society"? Chime in below!
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